PM says country must prepare for food shortages in coming months

Friday, 20 May 2022 02:10 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

  • Says special program to cultivate food crop all across the country
  • Unutilised State land in Colombo to be allocated for cultivation
  • Says low-income groups in Colombo already facing food shortages due to rising costs 
  • Calls for relief urgently
  • SL to benefit from International Food Initiative  
  • ADB to assist SL for food related needs
  • SME sector next to suffer due to economic crises

By Chandani Kirinde 

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe 


Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said yesterday the country needs to prepare to face food shortages in the coming months and said the Cabinet has discussed a program to commence food crop cultivation to cover all areas of the country as part of a program to increase local produce.

He said food scarcity is already affecting people particularly in the Colombo District and prompt action must be taken to provide them with relief. “We have discussed starting a program to grow food crops. In the Colombo district all unused State land will be allocated for the purpose,” the Prime Minister said in response to a query raised by SJB MP Mujibur Rahuman who said low-income groups in Colombo were among the hardest hit by rising costs and shortage of essential goods.

The Prime Minister said that the whole world will face food shortages in the coming month and the US Treasury’s Secretary Janet Yellen had, during recent speech, said that Sri Lanka has been identified along with Afghanistan as countries that will need assistance to deal with the food scarcity.

This is in keeping with the International Food Initiative’s (IFI) Action Plan to Address Food Insecurity developed by the Asian Development Bank (ADB), World Bank (WB) and several other multilateral and United Nations agencies. Under this Initiative, billions of dollars will be spent on supporting farmers, addressing the fertiliser supply crisis, and developing land for food production, among other issues.

The Asian Development Bank will contribute funds to feeding Afghanistan and Sri Lanka and the African Development Bank will use $ 1.5 billion to assist 20 million African farmers, according to the information released by the US Treasury.

The Prime Minister said that while Sri Lanka receives international assistance, the country will have to prepare to ensure food security for all.

“We are trying to start a special program. That is why we are bringing a new Budget to give relief but we must all get together and do this,” he said. He also said that steps have been taken to provide adequate fertiliser to farmers for the next Maha harvesting season.

The Prime Minister added that another area that will be seriously impacted is the Small and Medium Industries (SMEs) and this sector too will need assistance.


Multi-party Cabinet today